LED Lighting Rethought

So last night, as I was trying out various LED strip configurations, I was trying to match my old fluorescent tubes in terms of illumination without regard to overall power consumption, cost, or anything else.

Today, sitting at work, reality smacked me upside the head.  Each deck has approximately 110 feet of linear run, so 220 feet of lighting for the whole layout.  Assuming four strips of LEDs going strong for main lighting, that works out to 4.8A/4ft, or ~1.2A per foot.  That’s 264 AMPS of 12 volt power, or 3.2kW.  Yikes!  Given at a 20A house circuit can only source 2.4kW under ideal conditions, that’s probably 2-3 house circuits just to light the layout. (Remember, any power supply isn’t going to be 100% efficient.  In fact, 75% would probably be a good day.  Then, unless it’s power factor corrected, that’s going to get even worse.)  Given that my breaker box is buried in a finished wall, running new circuits would be painful.

After some tinkering when I got home, I came to the conclusion that two LED strips is probably “good enough”.  That’s only 1.6kW, which even assuming crappy power supplies should easily fit on existing circuits I can tap from the basement.  So, I ordered enough LED strip to complete the layout this afternoon…

Now off to continuing to demolish the old layout and clean out the basement for new construction.

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